590 Orrong Road IPC DENIED. Our media release explains…

Two years on, Lend Lease drags Council and Community to VCAT appeal

Planning Minister ignores wishes of his two local Liberal members by failing to implement Interim Planning Control.

A two-year planning battle over the future of 590 Orrong Road Armadale, pitting developer Lend Lease against the citizens and Council of Stonnington is headed to VCAT for this Monday May 28 at which the developer will seek to overturn Stonnington’s planning permit refusal.

Developer Lend Lease is seeking to build 14 towers of up to 13 storeys on the site which residents say is too high, too dense and too intrusive. The site, located next to Toorak Park is currently the location of a five storey business park.  The area impacted by the development is heritage-protected and abuts a DHS social housing development. Council stated no less than 14 grounds for refusal in its damning report. 

“This is a case of a multi-national corporate totally ignoring the wishes of Council and 99.99% of the community,” said Orrong Group convenor Margot Carroll.

The volunteer Orrong Group has fought a two year campaign securing a unanimous Council refusal for the planning permit on January 30, 2012. “The community not wavered,” said Ms Carroll. Orrong Group is not seeking a ban on development – it seeks development that’s sympathetic to the low-level surrounds and suburban context.

IPC refusal: Orrong  group has been pressuring Minister Guy to declare an Interim Planning Control (IPC) on the site limiting development to 250 dwellings of 17metres in height. The group has met with the Minister and over the past two weeks the community has sent hundreds emails to the Minister.

On May 22 the local Liberal members, Michael O’Brien (Malvern) and Clem Newton-Brown (Prahran), publicly called on the Minister to approve the IPC. The Orrong Group considers it extraordinary that the planning Minister made a decision only days before the VCAT hearing that is not only against the wishes of Stonnington Council and local community but also against the recent (22 May) public requests by the two local members of his own party.

Late on 23 May the Orrong Group and Council received news that the Planning Minister would not approve the Interim Planning Controls. The Minister, who has had more than 6 months to make his decision, has instead opted to exhibit the Council’s Urban Design Framework (UDF) for consultation even though there has already been extensive community consultation in relation to the site and the UDF. The UDF has a 17mt height and 250 dwellings.

At the last State election, the Liberal Party made a commitment to stop inappropriate high rise developments in the suburbs.  The Orrong Group regards the decision by the Planning Minister to not approve the IPC as inconsistent and requests the Minister to reconsider his position.

The community is now left exposed to a long and arduous VCAT appeal without the protection that would have resulted from the application of an IPC.  “The IPC would have given the site protection and limits,” sys Ms Carroll. “Now there is neither.”

The VCAT hearing is set down for 12 days beginning Monday 28 May at 10am at 55 King Street.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Clem Newton-Brown, Member for Prahran. on May 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I have both been working on this important community issue, together with the Member for Malvern, for several years. Numerous meetings and phone conversations have been had with the executive of the Orrong Group over this time. We have both spoken in Parliament and to the media in support of the local community on this issue.

    Ultimately the Planning Minister has refused to implement interim controls. I understand this decision was made on the basis that this request was only made by Council after a development application had been lodged for the site (it is unfortunate that controls were not in place for this site many years ago, before any development application was made).

    However, this latest update on the Orrong Group website does not properly detail the significance of the step that the Minister HAS agreed to – to exhibit the Stonnington Council’s Urban Design Framework. The fact that he has agreed to exhibit this adds significant weight to the Council/objector case. Your barrister now has a clear position that can be put that the Minister did not reject the Urban Design Framework but has allowed it to progress to the next step.

    Even more importantly he has agreed to exhibit it at the height and density sought by the community (17 metres / 250 dwellings).

    The Department of Planning and Community Development has also written to VCAT on behalf of the Minister to inform it of this step the Minister has taken.

    I am sure that over the course of the coming hearing it will become apparent how significant the exhibiting of the UDF is to the case. No doubt barristers for Council and the objectors will use it to bolster the case in favour of rejecting the Application.

    Thank you all for your emails and feedback on this issue. Everything that the Orrong Group sought was not achieved, but the significance of what has been achieved (ie the UDF exhibition) through all the lobbying and work over the years should not be underestimated.


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